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Contractus

(352 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Gai. Inst. 3,88 contractus constitutes, with delicts, one of the two higher branches of the whole Roman law of obligations. This has led many analysts to translate contractus simply as ‘contracts’. Originally, however, contractus was really not limited to a commitment as a contract but actually meant literally only ‘to incur (an obligation)’. In the period of the principate contractus was indeed understood to be linked to an agreement ( consensus, conventio) (Dig. 2,14,1,3). Even then, however, not every agreement would necessarily lead to a contractus. As no co…

Signum

(297 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
(Literally 'sign', pl. signa). [German version] [1] (Name) see Supernomen (Name) see Supernomen Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) [German version] [2] (Military matters) see Ensigns; Signals (Military matters) see Ensigns; Signals Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) [German version] [3] Brand mark for slaves The brand mark by which the Romans identified slaves (Slavery). It was used to prevent escape and deter theft, and for criminals in general if they were condemned to work in the mines ( in metallum), thus becoming slaves. Those who had been branded in this manner could …

Iurgium

(94 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A term in the Law of the Twelve Tables ( c. 450 BC,   Tabulae duodecim ). Its significance in legal history is still very disputed. Iurgium is a milder form of dispute than the litigation before court (  lis ); otherwise a general term for a dispute. It is conceivable that iurgium meant an out-of-court settlement, perhaps with the support of the pontifices. In the classical period (1st cent. BC - 3rd cent. AD) this form of resolution had long fallen out of use. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography M. Kaser, K. Hackl, Das röm. Zivilprozeßrecht, 21997, 58).

Nuptiae

(178 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (from nubere, ‘to cloak oneself, to put on a veil’) refers to marriage in Roman society (Marriage III.B.). A title of the Digesta (23,2: De ritu nuptiarum) with 68 fragments is devoted to wedding customs (III.). This indicates that Roman jurists gave close attention to the requirements for a legal marriage ( iustum matrimonium ). Since fulfilling the matrimonial requirements at the time of the nuptiae was of critical importance for legal recognition of the marriage, the term nuptiae eventually came to be used as a synonym for matrimonium in referring to marriage in g…

Institutiones

(404 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The Roman jurists were probably the first who derived institutiones as a title for elementary textbooks from the term institutio (teaching course) in the 2nd cent. The significance of this Roman genre for European legal history extends far beyond what one might expect of ancient introductory didactic works: when the work of codifying Roman juristic law in the form of the  Digesta had advanced to a point that their success seemed certain, in AD 533 emperor Justinian commissioned his minister of justice  Tribonianus as well as the Byzantine l…

Notary

(88 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ( notarius). In legal cultures favouring the written record of acts of law, a notary is needed as an officially appointed scribe. This function was held, in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt for example, by the agoranómoi , and in the Roman Imperial period and especially in Late Antiquity, the tabellio (documentary scribe). The Latin technical term notarius designates in Late Antiquity a senior official or officer with a special imperial mission, and also the secretary of the consistorium (as tribunus et notarius). Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Criminal procedure

(366 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] From a historical perspective it is only possible to speak of a criminal procedure (CP) in the technical sense if we can distinguish a field of criminal prosecution in the public (state) interest ( Punishment; Criminal law) from legal prosecution in the civil interest (including any civil law penalties, Lat.   poena ). The fact, for example, that private  revenge is channelled via the obligation to conduct a judicial procedure still does not constitute a CP: to protect public peace and state authority, only the …

Carmen famosum

(180 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The carmen famosum (CF) (according to Paulus, Sent. 5,4,6) or malum carmen (defamatory poem) is a criminal offence like the   occentatio placed beside each other in the Tabulae duodecim (8,1). It is possible that this crime was only barely comprehensible even for ancient writers (e.g. Cic. Rep. 4,12), particularly because of the extremely severe penalty for mere defamation: probably  death penalty. It was a matter of private punishment, though, so it was barely more than a legally p…

Litis contestatio

(653 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Term In Roman legal language, lis is the expression for a dispute, in particular when it is taken to court. Litis contestatio (LC) thus refers to the ‘witnessing’ of such a dispute (Fest. p. 34,50 L.). The instigation of a claim (action) and defence (repudiation of action) in front of witnesses determined the course of a (civil) law suit. Until the predominance of the imperial cognitio procedure around AD 300, LC was the crucial point [1. 77] in the entire proceedings. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) [German version] B. Legis actio procedure The necessity of summonin…

Vincula

(309 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (literally 'chains'). In legal provisions as early as the Twelve Tablets (Tab. 3,3; Tabulae Duodecim ) a creditor could place a debtor in vincula for the purpose of legal enforcement. In this way a culpability was established. Initially its goal was to force the payment of a debt by the debtor himself or a third party, but was also a transitional stage in taking control, after the expiry of a deadline, of the person of the debtor in order to sell him e.g into slavery or to have him work off the amount he was convicted of in bonded labour. This former function of vincula is alluded t…

Contumacia

(299 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Derived from contemnere (to despise; this meaning of the word survives today in the contempt of court of British law). In Roman law the contumacia meant above all the defendant's failure to obey a legal summons in the exercise of extraordinaria  cognitio . No similar use of the word contumacia is encountered before the introduction of this procedure in the Principate and of the contumacia, probably under Claudius. Admittedly a comparable function existed in earlier civil proceedings after the XII Tables (5th cent. BC) in a judge's ruling for o…

Verdict

(105 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Greek and Roman Antiquity, the verdict was determined entirely by the preceding complaint or charge, e.g. in Athens by dike [2] (civil complaint) and graphe [1] (criminal charge). For a verdict to be pronounced, there then remained nothing further to be established; it was merely a question of counting the votes of the deciding committee. The function of the ‘judge’ ( iudex ) in Roman law was essentially confined to hearing evidence. The legal judgement was anticipated by the admission of the complaint ( actio [2]), in particular by the praetor . Pro…

Elogium

(352 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] [1] Roman honorary inscription for deceased men An honorary inscription placed by the Romans on the tombs of deceased men of rank, on statues and wax masks within buildings or on public places. Most of the elogia on public display were removed by the censors of 158 BC. Most extant material dates from the Imperial period, where it was at times employed in the exalted reconstruction of times long since past. This also applies to the most important and best known examples of elogia, i.e. the inscriptions on the marble statues of the Mars temple on the Forum Augustu…

Querela non numeratae pecuniae

(189 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] 'Claim owing to failure to make monetary payment', in Roman law a development of the corresponding exception ( exceptio ). With this querela, the debtor could annul the validity of an abstract promise to pay ( stipulatio ), if he had entered into the stipulatio in the expectation of a loan payment, but the monetary payment had then not been made. The QNNP was, like the exceptio non numeratae pecuniae from the end of the 2nd cent. AD, among the easements accorded to debtors by the Roman emperors in the proceedings of the cognitio extraordinaria (cf. Cod. …

Mores

(457 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The plural of mos ( mos maiorum , ‘custom of the ancestors’) describes an entire complex of normative requirements in Roman society. While the ideological value of tradition and conservatism stands in the foreground with the word mos, until the early Imperial period mores invoked in the first place a concrete system of norms and sanctions that is most clearly recognizable in the ‘moral jurisdiction’ ( regimen morum) of the censors ( censores ). The censor's reprimand ( nota censoria ) and the censor's harsh sanction of down-grading politica…

Manumission

(1,306 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Early legal systems The manumission of slaves is not attested for all ancient legal systems. Thus the Mesopotamian statutes of Eshnunna and Hammurabi make no such stipulations [1. 161]. In Hittite law too, nothing is known of manumission. The existence of manumission is, however, assumed for Egypt, although categorisation of the unfree (or rather, not entirely free) ‘bondsmen’ as slaves as such is disputed [2. 147]. This circumstance suggests that the legal systems of Greece and Rome also did not know of manumission from their beginnings. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tü…

Ius

(4,952 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
A. Historical Overview [German version] 1. Ius in ancient Rome Ius, the Roman expression for law, went through considerable changes during the thousand-year history of the Roman state. Ius was originally the criterion by which the permitted exercise of liberty, particularly the legitimate exercise of power (over people and things) was distinguished from the disruptive exercise of force ( vis). Ius in modern terminology was thus subjective law. It attested its legal character ‘by observing a generally known and practised ritual’ [1. 253] in the way it was…

Verbera

(152 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (literally 'strokes, lashes'), e.g. with a stick ( ferula) or a whip ( flagella), were a means of punishment ( castigatio) in Rome. They occurred as an independent (police) punishment primarily for slaves and members of the lower classes ( humiliores, see Honestiores ) in the framework of the policing powers of the magistrates ( Coercitio ), in particular of the Tresviri [1] capitales in the Republican period, then of the emperor and his agents and of the provincial governors. In Roman penal law - as is known from the flagellation of Jesus - verbera were also an 'additiona…

Coitio

(165 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman criminal law, a type of criminal association, e.g. between thieves and publicans, as mentioned by Ulpia (Dig. 4,9,1,1), but in particular, the punishable election alliance (a defined case of election fraud,   ambitus ). Election alliances between candidates were probably regarded as harmless as long as only personal relationships, friendships and clientele connections were combined for common success in an election. Distinctly different was the joint bribing of electors on a large scale, against which the lex Licinia by Crassus (55 BC) was directed,…

Ampliatio

(130 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] An ampliatio (continuation of the case at another date) happened in Roman criminal proceedings if part of the jury (e.g. according to the l. Acilia it had to be a third) by special declaration or withdrawing of vote in the question of guilt made it clear that they did not yet regard the case as ripe for judgement ( non liquet). Ampliatio should be distinguished from   comperendinatio , legally prescribed in certain cases. Republican legislation had, it seemed, already tried to oppose the proliferating use of ampliatio by threatening fines against the judges in the c…
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